Friday, August 19, 2016

Ngapali Beach: The Natural Beauty of Myanmar

Natural Beauty of Ngapli Beach

It is famous for its natural and unspotted beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3 km with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. Ngapali Beach is one of the loveliest places in Myanmar where’s situated in Rakhine State, Western Myanmar.
Do you like peace and tranquility, and visit places “far from the madding crowds?” As many of us now live in crowded cities with the stress and strain of over-population, we need periods of relaxation away from urban areas, and go back closer to nature. Situated about 7 kim away from Thandwe (Sandoway), one of the ancient Rakhine (formerly Arakan) towns. It is said to have been named after the Naple of Italy by a homesick Italian. It is famous for its naural and unspotted beauty up to this day. The beach stretches about 3 km with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. It serves as the best ground for sunbathing and recreation such as beach strolling, cycling and so on. Unlike today’s beaches of Asia, it is free of noisy beachside bars, crowed people and hawkers persuading you to buy their things. There are only natural scenic beauty of the blue sea, white sand and the lovely sun. The sea is cobalt blue, without any dangerous marine animals and clean.
The water here is transparent and the sea is tranquil. Bicycle tours are arranged to visit the nearby villages. The villagers usually make sun-dry their fish, shrimp and coconut. These products are transported to Yangon and over the country. The best time to visit the beach is during October and April of every year.
Undoubtedly one of the best places for a relaxing holiday is Ngapali Beach near Thandwe (Sandoway in Rakhine (Arakan) State, on the Bay of Bengal. Ngapali Beach is one of the loveliest places in Myanmar; it is also one of the most unspoilt beaches in the world, with miles of pure white sands skirting the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Actually, Ngapali is not only single beach but a series of beaches interspersed with small fishing villages stretching from Mazin where the airport is located, to Lontha on Mayo Bay where coastal steamers dock in a sheltered anchorage.
A small winding tarmac road snakes its way along the coast for about twelve miles from Mazin to Lontha, passing through Ngapali village, Shwewa Gyaing, Myabyin, Lontha and several other small villages nestling between the beaches and the hills along the coast. A golf course next to the road near Ngapali village is being upgraded. The road is also being widened, from two lanes to four lanes, and the airport will be extended to take bigger planes. A new terminal building has already been constructed. The private airlines and the government airlines fly to Ngapali throughout the week and takes only 45 minutes flying time from Yangon.
After resting on the beach under the clear blue skies, the more energetic tourist or traveler has the option of exploring the range of hills behind the Strand Beach Hotel. Once you are on the small hills you will find a peaceful lake, which is actually a reservoir with blue waters where you can fish but not swim. In the winter months this lake is the haunt of migrating water fowls, wild ducks, teals and others which come down from the far north, beyond the borders of Myanmar. Ponies are available for riding along the beaches. Fishing boats with motors can be hired for trips to some of the islands off the coast or just to fish near the reef. Some travelers like to go on what is known as “side-car” the trishaws, peddled by local village men with two back to back seats for passengers at the side. Local buses ply between the villages and also to Thandwe, the district centre about seven miles away from the hotel. The best and cheapest way is to hire a bicycle to go around.
Ngapali is accessible by flight which takes about 45 minutes from Yangon, by car about 14 hours drive along the Rakhine Yoma mountain range. Ngapali has an international 18-holes golf resort, where you can relax. If you are looking for peaceful holiday with time to read and reflect, Ngapli with its lovely beaches is the place to visit. There you will find serenity and peace of mind amidst beautiful scenery.
The beach serves the best recreation: there’s great snorkeling, a reasonable golf course, boat trips to uninhabited islands and several nearby villages where you can observe traditional artisans in action – clay pottery in Kinmaw, and hand weaving in ancient Thandwe, Ngapali’s closest town. There’s a lovely variety of restaurants too, both in the hotels along the shoreline and along the road inland. They all serve excellent ultra-fresh seafood.

You can reach by land or plane. Local airlines provide air services to Thandwe about four miles from Ngapali Beach. 16 hours drive with air con bus or normal express car.

-          Nearby villages
-          Enjoy the sun set at unique small islet named pleasant view islet (the only small islet in Ngapali beach)
-          Boat trip to Pearl Island
-          Fishing village
-          Snorkel and relax under palm trees
-          Cycling
-          Visit to Black sand island called “Zalat Htone Island” in local language
-          Clay pottery works are done at Kinmaw Village
-          Hand weaving works of Rakhine longyi are based in Thandwe

Ngapali is prime choice for beach lovers dream about; white sand, the quiet rural surroundings, Rakhine ways of life, local fishing style etc..

It’s a beach, you can relax under a palm tree and go swimming occasionally. Water is very clear and the white sand on the beach won’t disappoint either. The beach looks west, meaning that there will be not so much of sun in the morning but a beautiful sunset in the evening.
A common half day trip offered by most resorts and shops along the main road includes fishing, snorkeling and a visit to a nearby island. Some places try to charge you up to 35,000 kyats, but when booked directly from the boat driver (or some of the restaurants) it is 20,000 kyat per boat.
There are two places on the main road for motor-bike renting. Bicycles can be rented almost everywhere. The fisherman village of Lon Tha, a couple of kilometers south of the resorts is worth seeing.

Try to buy coconut carving doll to encourage local people

Ngapali beach offers the best seafood cuisine in Myanmar. Almost all the restaurants are seafood restaurants, but they also serve other basic Burmese, Thai and Chinese dishes. Resorts often have some Western titles in their menus.
 On the beach side of the main road are the resorts’ restaurants and on the other side you will find somewhat cheaper local restaurants. Prices are affordable, even in the resorts.
Paradise Seafood restaurant is a nice one, close to the Bay view restaurant. Nice fresh fish and seafood, good cocktails afterwards. Very friendly owner, stay until after closing and he will bring you home on his motorbike, also rents motorbikes and arrange boat trips. Pleasant View Islet BBQ Resaturant is the best for its location on the small islet. Unique and the only one in Ngapali Beach.

Standard drinks such as Mojitos and Singapore Slings are $4 to $7 in the resorts. Most of them have happy hours at the time of sunset, typically between 5pm and 7pm. Expect half the price during that time.
A large bottle (660 ml) of Myanmar or Tiger Beer is 2,000 to 2,500 kyat in local restaurants.
Tap water is not drinkable but a few bottles of purified water often comes as complimentary in the hotels. A large bottle sells for 200 to 400 kyat on the street.
Fresh coconuts are sold on the beach. The seller cuts it open for you.

There are plenty of resorts hotel and guest houses in Ngapali Beach. Among them, following are the few resorts and hotels,
1) Pleasant View Resort
2) Amazing Resort
3)Bayview – the beach resort
4)Amata Resort
5) Ngapali Strand Beach Hotel
6)Silver Beach Hotel
7)Royal Beach Hotel and many more.
Ref; WIKIPEDIA & The Travellers
Ngapali Beach on Google Map

Oxcart rides along the beach
Snorkeling @ the nearby island

Snorkeling at the nearby island

Spa at the Resort Hotels

Sunset on the beach

Scenic view of Ngapali Beach

Scenic view of Ngapali Beach

The normal view of the beach
Fishing boats
Making a boat at the nearby village
Local people drying the fish on the beach
Drying the fish on the bamboo map
A local woman drying the fish on plastic map

The way of life on the beach

Fishermen village on the Bay of Bangal

The beauty of fisherman

Fishing boats coming

Village market at the Ngapali

Hawkers on the beach

Finished successfully for a day

A natural scenic at the village

Domestic air travel in Myanmar

Domestic Ticket in Myanmar

Burma is a large country with a bad road infrastructure, so though we generally prefer to stick to road, river or rail while travelling, a domestic flight in Burma (Myanmar) may on occasions be a necessary, or at least convenient, evil unless you have unlimited time and superior posterior suspension. Flights within Burma can be a bit confusing even downright frustrating so here’s a brief rundown on how it works.
To throw you in the bewildering deep end, currently no fewer than seven Burmese airlines operate, with another four carriers scheduled to begin operations later in 2013. We’re not sure how long some of these will last, but they’re certainly not all fly-by-night operations and generally speaking the ones we have used have all been fine and also quite affordable, though prices are going up as tourism booms here.
Myanmar Airways International is the country’s flagship carrier, while Golden Myanmar currently run international flights to Singapore and Bangkok and plan to add domestic connections later this year. They also have useful shuttle bus services from downtown to the airport.
Air Bagan has a somewhat dubious reputation as it’s owned by a Burmese general, but it’s one of the most established Myanmar carriers and operates to 19 regional destinations, as well as several Asian ones, and has a large, generally modern fleet. Air Mandalay has new planes too, though without the international or military connections. Asian Wings is another company you’ll come across frequently; it has decent new planes, covers all the popular destinations and has just sold a stake to Japan’s ANA, which would only improve services and maintenance. KBZ is a recent addition, with at present only three planes, all brand new ATRs. They’re well financed by one of the country’s largest banks and we were impressed by their service, so expect to see some expansion here. We haven’t tried Yangon Airways yet, but they do fly to some out of the way spots, such as Myitkyina and Putao. The new airlines are Mann Yadanabon, Saga, Apex and FMI.
Problems with aviation in Burma don’t lie with safety, service or even punctuality. We’ve always found that if a plane is scheduled for 16:00, it does leave pretty close to that time if it leaves at all, we man.
Since most of these companies are small, financial considerations are important, and they will wait until the last minute to see how many travelers book. If it’s not enough they will cancel even at very short notice. (It’s not as bad as 1990s Lao Aviation, where planes used to sit on the runway until enough people turned up.)
At busy destinations they’ll simply regroup passengers from different flights onto one flight, so Air Bagan, Asian Wings and Air Mandalay for example will use just one plane so even if you book with Air Bagan, you may go on a KBZ flight.
Alternatively, if there are not enough passengers on a Yangon-Mandalay flight, for example, they will combine it with a Yangon-Bagan flight, so you will suddenly find yourself stopping at Bagan too. Booking a Heho (Inle Lake) to Yangon direct flight with Asian Wings may actually see you travel via Mandalay, Bagan  and Naypyidaw on an Air Bagan plane. This is all decided at the last minute sometimes literally.
Smaller airports without multiple arrivals on a given day may simply see a flight cancelled due to lack of interest. This is a problem at smaller airports such as Kawthaung, Tachileik, Kengtung and Putao. Also, provincial airports do not always have top-notch rader systems, so weather can cause cancellations. Be warned that this is a problem with higher altitude airports such as Shan Plateau ones, including Heho, especially during heavy fog in winter months or low cloud during rainy season.
You therefore need to be very careful when booking connecting flight. Basically, with the exception of Mandalay, don not book domestic flights with an international connection in Yangon. It is much safer to allow 24 hours between connections and add on a night in Yangon.
Finally, a few words on flight practicalities, check in is old school, with paper tickets only. If you lose the ticket, they won’t start checking through computer records you will have to pay for a new one. Continuing the retro theme, flights should be reconfirmed 24 hours in advance. Pay close attention to boarding, since as we mentioned above you may well be getting on an Air Mandalay plane with your Air Bagan ticket. Seating is not allocated. Arrival and departure procedures vary from airport to airport, with some requiring passports at check-in and others not. Some have X-rays scanners, others don’t. Luggage allowance is usually 20 kilograms. So be prepared for anything and bon voyage!
Ref; Mark Ord, The Travellers
Domestic flight route map
Mann Yadanabon carrier

in flight service

Air KBZ Carrier
Heho Airport

Bagan - Nyaung Oo Airport

Mandalay International Airport

While boarding
Asian Wings carrier

refueling Yangon Airways carrier @ Heho Airport